Total confirms talks over Nigerian assets

12 November 2012 –  The chief executive of French oil major Total said he would not deny a report company was in talks to sell assets in Nigeria, worth about $2.4 billion, to China’s Sinopec.

A Bloomberg report last week said Sinopec was close to buying stakes in Nigerian onshore oil blocks from Total.

“Yes we are discussing with certain buyers about selling certain assets in Nigeria,” Reuters cited Total chief executive Christophe de Margerie, telling reporters at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi over the weekend.

“But it doesn’t mean we are scared and intend to start some kind of walking out of Nigeria…Total is happy to develop its projects in Nigeria.”

While de Margerie did not deny the Bloomberg report, he declined to name the potential buyer or value of the deal, according to Reuters.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter and oil companies operating there have long had to deal with attacks on their pipelines and staff, while the country’s worst floods in 50 years has seriously affected output over recent weeks.

Total said in September it planned to sell assets worth between $15 billion and $20 billion in the period up to 2014 as part of a bolder approach to managing its business, which has seen it buy and sell assets more frequently.

Total declared force majeure in mid-October on gas supplies to Nigeria LNG’s liquefaction plant, saying it had stopped oil and gas production on Block 58, which was losing 90,000 bpd of oil equivalent.

Reuters cited Total’s head of upstream telling reporters at the same press conference that it was still to early to say when production might restart, with flooding still posing problems.

“The water is decreasing, but we still have some problems with the floods,” Total’s head of upstream, Yves-Loius Darricare, said.

“I hope we will be able to restart production as soon as we can.”

At least 363 people have been killed due to the floods since the start of July and 2.1 million people have been displaced, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

NEMA said last week the oil-producing Niger Delta region was still flooded but water levels were falling and the heaviest rains had passed as Nigeria enters its six-month long dry season.

Josh Lewis  for Upstream


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  • The International Oil Companies are divesting from Nigeria despite what the country’s leadership care to think or believe. Unfortunately very few countries if any ever develops without foreign investment. If anything, the the continuous divestment by the IOCs is a vote of no confidence on the administration’s management of the security situation in the Niger Delta and the inability to put in place the right fiscal policy framework to inspire confidence and drive investment.

  • Chigozie Abraham Okafor via Facebook

    I agree in part with you, but the level of IOC’s participation in d industry here in Nigeria is over 70%, we have enough resources in this country to develop the petroleum sector when transparency prevails.